JNU announces another fee concession before MHRD report
In a surprise move on Monday night, the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) administration announced cutbacks in the increased hostel fee—an issue which has brought the varsity to a standstill for nearly a month.
This comes after the recommendation of the seven-member internal committee set up by the administration on Sunday. The committee had given JNU students around six hours to submit their suggestions to the dean of students.
On Monday, JNU registrar Pramod Kumar said the panel looked into the suggestions and recommended a 50% concession in utility and service charges for all students and 75% reduction for those belonging to families under the Below Poverty Line (BPL) category.
The changes will be implemented from January 2020.
“The committee scrutinised the estimated utility and service charges in the hostels, which are Rs 2,000 per month (including electricity and water charges of Rs 300) and has recommended that Rs 1,000 per month may be charged, in place of Rs 2,000 per month,” Kumar said.
It also recommended that for all the eligible BPL students be charged Rs 500 in place of Rs 2000 every month, he said.
“It is expected that 75 percent concessions in utility and service charges to eligible BPL category students and 50 percent concessions to the rest will go down well with the student community and stakeholders at large,” he said asking students to end the strike.
The development comes ahead of Tuesday’s report expected to be submitted by the three-member committee appointed by the Union ministry of human resource development (MHRD) to look into the issue that saw students up in arms against JNU vice-chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar and the authorities.
Unsatisfied with the new changes, JNU teachers’ association (JNUTA) called for the full withdrawal of the hostel changes.
“The hostel charges announced after this second revision nevertheless continue to represent a not insignificant increase of about Rs. 1500 per month over the existing charges,” JNUTA said in a statement.
The association pointed out that the new category of fees—utility and service charges that “reflect a move towards a self-financing model, or a transfer of the university’s responsibilities on to students”—are still present in the structure of hostel charges.
“This is thus leaving open the possibility that theUniversity Administration’s goal will be ultimately achieved through subsequent increases in the charges under these heads,” it said.
The three-member MHRD-appointed committee, including former UGC chairperson VS Chauhan, AICTE chairperson Anil Sahasrabudhe and UGC secretary Rajnish Jain, held its last meeting on Friday with students’ representatives in the university’s administration block.
The committee was constituted after several attempts to pacify the agitating students had failed.
During one such protest, HRD minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ and JNU vice-chancellor Jagadesh Kumar were confined at the auditorium of the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), about 3km away from the university campus in south Delhi, during JNU’s convocation ceremony for six hours.
The JNU administration had earlier announced a 50% concession for those belonging to the BPL category but students rejected the proposal, saying it was an eyewash and demanded complete rollback of the proposed hostel fee hike.